Friday, February 11, 2011

Confusion about your skin routine? Here is some help & clarification

The world of cosmetics gets more and more confusing the older we get. Once upon a time, all we did was wash and moisturize. Then someone tells you that you need a toner....then suddenly you need a make-up remover. Then one day you discover night creams, then the sales person tells you that you need a serum...sunscreen, eye treatments, peels, etc.

I have been requested to help you clear through the clutter of the skincare world... So here is to hoping I don't confuse you any more! Thanks MEC for the special blog request!

1) Cleansing
2) Exfoliating (whenever necessary)
3) Toning
4) Serums (follow instructions re: daytime and/or nighttime usage)
5) Eye Serums (if using)
6) Facial Moisturizer
7) Eye Cream
8) Sunscreen...daytime (can I get a resounding "DUUUUH!!!")

Cleansing: Not all cleansers are created equal. Not all remove eye make-up, and not all of them are even comfortable in the eye area. Read the instructions, or if you are like me, experiment! Haha.
Exfoliating: Always exfoliate clean skin ONLY! Exfoliating dirty skin can push dirt further into your pores. Yikes!

Toning: Avoid the alcohol-laden ones. Especially you acne-prone folks...alcohol dehydrates your skin, causing more oil production, which just exasperates your acne problem!

Serums: Some that are meant to be used just at night (those with retinol should be used only at night, as UV rays breaks retinol down), some are best used during the day (those with high concentrations of Vitamin C offer amazing free-radical protection, so you get maximum benefit using them during the day when you are out and about, exposed to the elements) and many serums are great day AND night (such as serums that help detoxify, protect, or hydrate).

Eye Serums: Not many brands make Eye Serums, and with good reason. Many people just want to use ONE eye product, and you MUST layer a cream over your serum. Because of the intensity of many of these Eye Serums, you may find that it irritates your eye lid...if this is the case, discontinue their use on the lid or try using it every other day for a couple weeks to build up your skin's tolerance. Otherwise, feel free to apply it all over, inside the orbital bone, taking care to not get it in the eye (can I get another "Duuuuh!"). As a wise friend of mine once said "Where else would Eye Cream go?!? It's not called CHEEKBONE CREAM!"

Moisturizer: Find one you love! Feel free to experiment. And, for God's sake, don't use the same one for 10 years!!! Your skin changes, so should your moisturizer. Feel free to use a different one for night and day, if you like.
Eye Cream: I have a theory about eye cream. "The thicker, the better". But not everyone prescribes to that notion. Again, find one you love. Eye cream samples are hard to find. Go to your favorite beauty shop and play around with them on the back of your hand until you find one you like. Buy your products at a retailer with a fair (or even a generous) return policy. *Sephora, I love you*

Sunscreen: A recent study published in the American Journal of Science listed two common ingredients/formulations of chemical sunscreen to, of all things, MELANOMA! Yes, skin cancer. SMARTEN UP PEOPLE!!! Get a Physical Sunscreen! The ONLY active ingredients in Physical Sunscreen are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. READ YOUR LABELS!

Do you have to use the same brand for all of your products? Of course not! You will get maximum benefit if you are mixing and matching your products to find individual products that address your individual concerns. 

Well what about masks or steaming, you say?

Whenever you steam, you should do it after cleansing or before masking.

If you are putting on a mask, you will get maximum benefit after cleansing, and you should skip the toning as to leave some of the penetrated active ingredients on your skin.

Have I helped you clear up any of the skincare routine confusion? Or did I just add to it? 

Talk to me! Leave a comment below...


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

REVIEW: Burt's Bees Radiance Night Cream with Royal Jelly

After my pretty awesome experience with the Burt's Bees Cream Cleanser I thought I might try one of their creams to help battle my suddenly-dry skin. I know I haven't been drinking as much water as I should, and I know it's cold out and hot inside...but REALLY! My skin is pretty crazy dry.

I spent a considerable amount of time in-store reading the boxes for the various Burt's Bees moisturizers and decided to try the Radiance Night Cream with Royal Jelly.

The good folks at Burt's Bees claim that Royal Jelly is "very nourishing, royal jelly is made of nectar, pollen, flower parts, vitamins, minerals, bee hormones and other natural ingredients". To be honest, I just learned about the "bee hormones" part, which kind of gave me the giggles.

As a minor health fanatic, I have heard lots about the health benefit of Royal Jelly. If you do some research, you will learn that it does some amazing things for bees. Royal Jelly is what is fed to the Queen Bee, it is what makes her so much bigger than the other bees, and it is what makes her fertile (all other female bees are infertile). Royal Jelly is loaded with amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins B5 & B6, as well as the same anti-bacterial properties renowned in honey!

In the end, I figured since I'm the Queen Bee of my household I should try this moisturizer.

And it hasn't disappointed!

Despite a heavy load of oils in the Ingredient List (Sweet Almond Oil is second from the top, and further down you'll find Sunflower and Vegetable oils), this cream feels closer in texture to a lotion. Royal Jelly is the 9th ingredient from the top, and is followed by other awesome natural goodness, like Lemon Peel extract, Horsetail Extract, Rosemary and Pine Tree extracts, hops, etc.

The texture was very light, and even slightly sticky. The sticky feeling disappeared pretty quickly and wasn't off-putting, it just felt a little unusual at first.

The cream absorbed right in and did not feel heavy at all! My skin felt nourished, it looked beautiful and didn't feel dry! My skin has actually been so dry, that I was using this cream either (and sometimes, both) day or night!

This cream's ONLY downfall was its fragrance... it was the EIGHTH (!!!) ingredient from the top...meaning there was more perfume than Royal Jelly in this product. The smell was lovely, dont get me wrong, but surely it can't stink enough to warrant *that* much fragrance, right?

Hopefully that is something the good people over at Burt's Bees can fix sometime soon!

Also, at over $30 a jar, this product is WAY too expensive to not have tester jars out. There are Vichy, La Roche Posay, NeoStrata, etc creams at that same price range... and THEY have testers. **cough cough, are you listening Burt?**

This cream was lovely and nourishing that it actually encouraged me to buy the matching eye cream as well!!! I will review that another time...

In the meantime... TRY THIS STUFF!


Monday, February 7, 2011

REVIEW: Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream

Do you ever read the instructions on any personal or hygiene product and it always states the oh-so-obvious "Keep away from Eyes" warning? And you think to yourself "Well, duuuuhhhh". The folks at Burt's Bees weren't joking! This cleanser has a minty-tingle-factor, which is irritating to the eye area. I'm talking tears-running-down-your-face-oh-my-god-why-do-my-eyeballs-feel-like-they're-freezing kind of irritation. So if you are looking for a cleanser that also takes off your makeup, then keep on looking!

If you are okay with (or prefer) using an eye-make up remover before you wash your face, and want something more natural in your skin care routine, then you are going to LOVE this cleanser.

Minty-warning aside...this cleanser is AMAZING!!!!

It is a non-foaming cream cleanser that deep cleans without stripping your skin, but never feels heavy, greasy or filmy. I have always preferred foaming cleansers because I had such a hard time finding a milky or creamy cleanser that didn't leave an oil slick behind!

All of my make-up (except my eye make-up) dissolved beautifully, and the cleanser felt so refreshing! It rinsed off beautifully, and sometimes I even use a washcloth to massage and exfoliate. Once its all rinsed off, and you've patted your skin dry you will not feel that tight and dry oh-gawd-where's-my-moisturizer feeling.

Even though the words "Deep Cleansing" are on the label, the product is completely non-drying! Most people associate "Deep Cleansing" with drying and stripping, but that is definitely not the case with this cleanser!

I originally bought this cleanser because I have been experiencing record dryness on my face this winter! The ingredient list starts off with water and is followed by a variety of oils, such as Sunflower Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Butter, and Soybean Oil. Glycerin is in there, along with loads of plant extracts, like soap bark extract, chamomile, witch hazel, aloe; and essential oils like Rosemary, Lavender, Lemon, etc.

The high oil concentration and lack of chemical surfactants have made an amazing difference to my skin. I don't feel as dry as I did before I started using this cleanser, and my skin looks more supple and bright!

I have read other reviews about folks with acne or very oily skin who also loved this product! Sounds like a winner for most skin types!

For someone looking for a gentler and more natural cleanser for your skin, I would highly recommend this cleanser! It's about $15 for a 6 ounce tube (170g) and it should last forever because you need so little!

Have you ever used this cleanser? What did you think of it?


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Biotherm SkinErgetic Anti-Fatigue Serum

Biotherm recently launched this all-new, almost all-natural serum to fight signs of fatigue. Their target audience are women 30-45 years old (woo hoo... thats ME!!!) and their tag line is "So signs of fatigue dont turn into signs of aging".

Sounds good, right?

This serum is made with 99% natural origin ingredients, is free of petro-chemicals, mineral oils, silicones, parabens, and the such. This is GREAT news for me!

It is loaded with sulforaphane from Broccoli, Apple Extract, soy protein, and AHAs from sugar and lemon. It is a light serum, that rapidly absorbs, so that you can apply your favorite moisturizer right over top. These plant ingredients work together to fight 5 major signs of fatigue, such as loss of radiance, uneven complexion, visible pores, a grainy skin appearance, and roughness).

I was lucky enough to get a full-sized bottle right when it launched and have really liked using it! For starters, it smells FANTASTIC! The fragrance is natural and smells fruity and fresh! Secondly, you get to "activate" the serum yourself, which is SO COOL! It comes with a special lid that you place on top of your bottle, then *click* to release the broccoli sulfuraphane. You take off the empty lid (I think its recycleable), then you replace it with the dropper, and shake shake shake to release the potency of the fresh ingredient throughout the serum. Pretty fun!

There is a small label that allows you to record the date, because the good folks at Biotherm want you to remember that it is at its maxium efficiency for THREE MONTHS from the date you activated it.

My skin is combination dry, and throughout the winter months I have been LOVING loading thick and rich creams on my face. This serum went on beautifully under my moisturizers! I discovered that the AHAs in this serum dried me out ever so slightly, so I had to use the thickest and richest cream in my arsenal to counteract that! I bet I wouldnt have this problem once spring and summer hit, but because my skin is experiencing record dryness this winter, it felt a bit too taut without a rich moisturizer piled over my SkinErgetic serum.

Did I notice a difference in my skin?

After using the serum for just under a week, I can tell you that my complexion GLOWS. I absolutely adore that it is almost entirely natural and that there are no mineral oils or silicones in it!

If you work hard and its starting to show in your skin, I think you oughta try this serum! It is only $58, and should last you 3 months if you are using it twice a day!

I loved it, and I will be trying the Skin*Ergetic Rich Day Cream next...

Have you tried this serum, or any of the other Skin*Ergetic products from Biotherm yet? How did you like them?

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